Hefsek Taharah and Bedikot – Important Mekori Information for Women

[Note: The below is for information purposes only, as is everything on this site. The decision to act upon any of it or not is the personal decision of the reader and any details regarding the observance of any halakhah – especially those laws which are intricate, complicated, and/or severe – should be discussed with a competent rav.]

[Further Note: The information and halakhot that are discussed below are of a sensitive nature and the post includes some graphic language related to both male and female anatomy, menstruation, and sexuality. It is perhaps not appropriate reading for children or youths.]

The following is a public service for the sake of the health of religious Jewish women and the increase of sexual health, enjoyment, and a general improvement of shalom bayit.

I would advise anyone who has not done so already to read my post about when to properly begin counting the seven clean days (shivah nekiyim – שבעה נקיים). That post, when combined with this one, fundamentally transforms taharat ha-mishpahah from a burden into something normal, reasonable, and manageable.

Painful Bedikot and Taharat HaMishpahah

Perhaps the most painful, irritating, invasive, and frustrating component of practical taharat ha-mishpahah is the frequent internal vaginal inspections with a cloth. The standard method that is prescribed by rabbis, kallah teachers, and yoatzot comes from the instructions for performing bedikot as found in the Shulhan Arukh (Yoreh De’ah 196:6), which states as follows:

TEXT

כָּל בְּדִיקוֹת אֵלּוּ בֵּין בְּדִיקַת הֶפְסֵק טָהֳרָה בֵּין בְּדִיקַת כָּל הַשִּׁבְעָה צְרִיכוֹת לִהְיוֹת בְּבֶגֶד פִּשְׁתָּן לָבָן יָשָׁן אוֹ בְּצֶמֶר גֶּפֶן אוֹ בְּצֶמֶר לָבָן נָקִי וְרַךְ וְתַכְנִיסֶנּוּ בְּאוֹתוֹ מָקוֹם בָּעֹמֶק לַחוֹרִים וְלַסְדָקִים עַד מָקוֹם שֶׁהַשַּׁמָּשׁ דָּשׁ וְתִרְאֶה אִם יֵשׁ בּוֹ שׁוּם מַרְאֵה אַדְמוּמִית וְלֹא שֶׁתַּכְנִיסֵהוּ מְעַט לְקַנֵּחַ עַצְמָהּ

TRANSLATION

“All of these various bedikot, whether it is a bedikah for the purpose of a hefsek taharah or whether it is a bedikah for one of the seven clean days, it needs to be done with an old white linen cloth, or cotton, or clean white wool that is soft. This cloth is inserted deeply into ‘that place’ [i.e. the vagina] into all the folds and crevices until the place where the ‘member threshes’ [i.e. the opening of the cervix; where ejaculate enters], and she then looks to see if there is any reddish appearance. She does not simply insert it slightly, merely wiping herself.”

These inspections are not only difficult to do, but often lead to irritation of the vaginal canal and, in many cases, further bleeding. There have also been instances of infections or injury resulting from them, especially if the woman is the least bit obsessive and repeats them often. As a result of the discomfort, some women secretly neglect to do them, while others simply refuse to participate in taharat ha-mishpahah at all.

As will be seen below, the such intrusive “bedikot” need never be done, but only a simple wiping (of the type mentioned and rejected by the Shulhan Arukh itself).

Mokh” Trial

In the Shulhan Arukh (Yoreh De’ah 196:1), Rav Yosef Karo prescribes a practice known as a mokh dahuk (מוך דחוק) wherein a woman, after having performed the bedikah just prior to sunset for a hefsek taharah, packs her vagina with clean wadded cloth for the duration of bein ha-shemashot until sundown. After tzeit ha-kokhavim (i.e. halakhic nightfall) the wadding is removed and inspected for spots of possible blood.

This practice was first recommended by the Rashba (Rav Shelomoh ben Aderet, 1235-1310) and was later adopted by other scholars in practice. Although a mokh is mentioned in the Talmud as form of birth control, it is never mentioned or prescribed by either Hazal or other Rishonim in connection with taharat ha-mishpahah. As such, it is not required at all by halakhah.

Many women find the use of a mokh to be not only uncomfortable, but also self-defeating since on the basis of it many women are told to delay an extra day or two in beginning their count of seven clean days. This very trying and unnecessary contrivance should be abandoned by Jewish women in favor of the relatively simple prescriptions of the Talmud, as codified -in this case – by the Rambam.

The Latest Mekori Manual on Taharat HaMishpahah

Translation of selections from Sefer Taharat Mosheh by Rav Tzefanyah Arusi, printed Makhon Mishnat HaRambam (Makhon Moshe”hמכון מש”ה), pp. 103-104:

“Chapter 13: Hefsek Taharah (הפסק טהרה) and Counting Seven Clean Days (ספירת שבעה נקיים)

The Bedikah for a Hefsek Taharah

In the era of the sages of the Talmud, Jewish women were strict upon themselves and every amount of blood which they saw – which was accompanied by a hargashah [1] – even if it was only a drop the size of a mustard seed, and then counted seven clean days from the time that the blood stopped and then they immersed (Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Isurei Bi’ah 11:4).

The widespread practice today (in accordance with the instruction of the aharonim [2]) is that just prior to the time of shekiah (which in their view refers to the concealment of the sun [היסתרות החמה] which is advertised in the calendars [3]), which is before she begins counting seven clean days, she is mafsikah taharah [i.e. she interrupts her unclean days by producing a ‘proof’ that her bleeding has stopped], that is she checks ‘that place’ [4] with a clean white cloth. Preferably (לכתחילה) she performs a bedikah that inspects the folds and crevices [i.e. of the inner walls of the vagina] reaching to the place which the ‘member threshes’ [i.e. where the penis is inserted and ejaculates during intercourse, which is considered the entire depth of the vagina until the opening of the cervix], as mentioned in the Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh De’ah 196:6. However, after the fact (בדיעבד), just the depth to which her hand reaches is sufficient, as per the Rema there. If the cloth comes out clean, it is then recommended that she place a mokh [5] within ‘that place’ for the duration of time between bein ha-shemashot and tzeit ha-kokhavim [6], and if the mokh then comes out clean she may begin to count seven clean days from that night (as regards the color of the cloth after the bedikah, see chapter 2 above that deals with the laws of ketemim).

However, our teacher the Rambam [7] did not mention these practices and recorded only the law of the Talmud [8] alone, which is: On the day that the blood stops, she checks herself by only wiping (בקינוח בלבד) ‘that place,’ and if it emerges clean then she begins to count the seven clean days. [9] Such was the practice of the Jewish women of Yemen once upon a time, but it seems that currently they conduct themselves according to the more intensive practice. [10]

The women of the Sefardic tradition, in accordance with the Shulhan Arukh, inspect themselves until the point that the ‘member threshes,’ and the women of the Ashkenazic tradition, in accordance with view of the Rema, inspect themselves only to the point that their fingers naturally reach.”


Notes:

[1] A hargashah refers to a bodily feeling experienced by a woman that usually accompanies uterine bleeding, including – and most usually – menstruation.

[2] The aharonim refers to rabbinic scholars who wrote after the publication of the Shulhan Arukh (ca. 1500 CE to the present).

[3] The “calendars” being referred to here are the commonly published tables of zemanim (halakhic times) throughout the year. The “shekiah” designated in the majority of such calendars refers to the setting of the sun behind the visible horizon.

[4] The phrase “that place” (אותו מקום) is lashon naki for the vagina as it is viewed from without. Lashon naki refers to “erudite language,” i.e. delicate pseudonyms used by scholars when discussing subjects related to sex and sexuality in an effort to imbue the discussion with proper honor and to avoid overly graphic depictions.

[5] As explained above, a mokh refers to a mokh dahuk (מוך דחוק), which is mentioned in the Talmud only in connection to its use as a form of birth control (akin to idea behind the modern contraceptive sponge), but is never mentioned with regard to the laws of family purity. It’s use in this way is a contrivance and a humrah instituted first by the Rashba in his Taharat HaBayit, and later prescribed in the Shulhan Arukh (Yoreh De’ah 196:1).

[6] The terms bein ha-shemashot and tzeit ha-kokhavim refer, in general, to a period of time that takes place at some point after the setting of the sun behind the visible horizon and the appearance of three “medium-sized” stars in the night sky, respectively. Their exact timing is a subject of lengthy and ongoing halakhic debate, but the position espoused by the Rambam, and thus adopted by Rav Tzefanyah Arusi, will be explained below.

[7] The phrase רבנו הרמב”ם is used in Yemenite writings in much the same way that מרן is used in Sefardic communities.

[8] The phrases דין התלמוד and דין התלמודי refer to the bare ruling of the Talmud as stated in the Talmud itself, without a view to later additions and [usually] strictures that were created or contrived by later writings. These mekori expressions are used intensively in the writings of both Rav Ratzon Arusi and his son, Rav Tzefanyah.

[9] The “wiping” referred to here is no different than is commonly used by women when cleaning themselves after urination. It certainly moves the outer labia aside, but there is no inward direct penetration by the fingers, as is usually required by those who instruct women in taharat ha-mishpahah. As Rav Tzefanyah writes explicitly later on in the chapter (p. 107):

“Every bedikah that a woman is obligated to perform, whether she is in a state of purity or uncleanness, she must do it using a cloth made of well-worn white linen, or cotton, or clean soft wool – all of these materials are considered reliable witnesses to her bedikah (cf. Hilkhot Isurei Bi’ah 4:14). According to the opinion of our teacher the Rambam, the manner of performing a bedikah is the same for every instance that one must be performed, whether she is in a state of purity or uncleanness, which is an external wiping between the lips [i.e. of the vagina].”

And as is explained in the note there, the explicit language of the Rambam in Hilkhot Isurei Bi’ah 4:13-15 is that of “wiping” (קינוח, מקנח) only and not of some sort of invasive examination. The point of this check, as stated by the Rambam, is to ascertain that the flow of blood has stopped, not to determine if there is a stray bit of blood in the vagina.

[10] The “more intensive practice” is actually the word mahmirim (מחמירים) and is usually translated or understood as referring someone or something that is “strict.” However, I chose the render it as “more intensive” to remove the idea that while the practitioners of the Shulhan Arukh are serious in their observance, the Rambam and those who rely on him are somehow lax, which is certainly not the case.


pp. 105-106

The Proper Time for Performing a Bedikah of a Hefsek Taharah

According to the opinion of our teacher the Rambam, the bedikah has to be performed before the day becomes dark [ג]. And this was the custom of the Jewish women of Yemen (as well as some among the women of Ashkenaz). However, most of the women from all the ethnic sub-groups (edot; עדות) are very careful to perform a bedikah specifically at the time just prior to the time of shekiah which is printed in the calendars (and this was also the practice of many women of the Sefardic and Ashkenazic traditions, and the practice of many among the Yemenite women living in Eretz Yisrael closely resembled this).

If she forgot to perform the bedikah before sunset (shekiah), but did the bedikah after sunset and before tzeit ha-kokhavim – it still counts for her as a hefsek taharah that was performed during daylight hours, and she may begin counting the first of her seven clean days from that night. [ד]

However, if she performed the bedikah after tzeit ha-kokhavim, her counting is thereby delayed and she may only begin counting her seven clean days on the night of the following day.

If a woman is unable to perform a bedikah just prior to sunset due to either work, travel, an event, or other similar reasons, she is able to perform a bedikah in the morning or the afternoon. If it is clean, this bedikah counts for her as a valid hefsek taharah, and she begins counting seven clean days from that night.

[ג] According to the opinion of our teacher the Rambam, ‘shekiat ha-hamah’ refers to the appearance of 2 stars and ‘tzeit ha-kokhavim’ refers to the appearance of 3 stars.  There is a span of approximately 20 minutes between them (one third of an hour), that is between the appearance of 1 star to the appearance of 3 stars. The mere setting of the sun behind the visible horizon is considered to be prior to ‘shekiat ha-hamah’ and is not the same as the time of ‘shekiat ha-hamah’ that is advertised in the calendars. The entire time that the sun is set behind the visible horizon and there is 1 star, it is still completely day [yom gamur hu] according to halakhah because that one star is considered a daytime star. When the second star appears, it is split between day and night since it is considered to be the appearance of 1 daytime star and 1 nighttime star, without the possibility of deciding between them – and it this time that is referred to as ‘bein ha-shemashot’ (i.e. doubtfully day and doubtfully night). Once the third star appears, it is decisively nighttime since there are 2 night stars against 1 day star. Shekiat ha-hamah‘ is a description of when these 2 stars appear, which is also known as ‘tzeit hakokhavim’ (i.e. ‘stars’ indicates at least two).  From the Torah [מדאורייתא] we suspect that it is likely too late after the appearance of the second star, because we think that perhaps the third star appeared and we didn’t see it … In the opinion of Rav Yosef Qafih z”l, from the time that the sun drops just below the visible horizon until the appearance of the first star takes about 15 minutes, and between the appearance of 1 star and 3 stars is about 20 minutes, making it [i.e. halakhic nightfall] a total of 35 minutes after the setting of the sun behind  the visible horizon … 

[ד] See the previous comment. In the Pithei Teshuvot (196, p. 378) it says, ‘There are those who wrote to be lenient until 13 minutes after shekiah (cf. Taharat HaBayit there), and others who wrote to be lenient until 20 minutes after shekiah (cf. Birurei Halakhah, in the name of the Satmar Rebbe; the Nit’ai Gavriel in the name of the Tzanzer Rebbe.’ And he writes in the FAQ there, ‘Those who conduct themselves according to Rabbenu Tam, if they checked after shekiah they ask a competent rav.’


The Wonderful News for Jewish Women

  1. NO MORE internal examinations that injure and irritate the delicate walls of the vagina. It is not halakhically necessary for any bedikah, for any purpose. Those who maintain that it is necessary are relying on post-Talmudic inventions that derive from mainly ascetic concerns.
  2. NO MORE using a mokh. Ever. It is simply not required.
  3. NO MORE waiting until just prior to shekiah or delaying the counting of seven clean days due to the bedikah being done a few minutes late. A hefsek taharah can be performed either earlier in the day or, not ideally, up to 15-20 minutes after sunset. Ladies, don’t wait so long into the day to make your bedikah when you can do it before you leave for work in the morning!

My sincere hope is that this was helpful and cleared up confusion on the subject. Once again, mekoriut wins the day of practical observances of the halakhah.

Kol tuv,

YB

7 thoughts on “Hefsek Taharah and Bedikot – Important Mekori Information for Women

  1. Your post brought a big smile to my face, particularly seeing your mention of טהרת משה. I think you have the distinction of being the first to reference טהרת משה, much less translate from it, in English. May God help you go from strength to strength!

    I just wanted to comment that even if it wasn’t your intention, the closing sentence “mekoriut wins the day of practical observances of the halakhah” may convey an understanding that in deciding halakhah the more lenient p’sak–particularly as it pertains to convenience–be preferred over the stringent, instead of according primacy to a position on basis of conformity with the Talmud. Cf. Rav Kafih’s comment in ספר אהבה עמ’ תשיא where he writes “לא מחמת קצרו אלא מפני שכך היא קבלת אבותינו.”
    (Not to say that there is no place to consider implications of a particular position, as in Rav Kafih’s comment in הלכות אישות פי”ד הל’ [יב] (ח) אות טו where he writes “וכמה מן הצדק והיושר החכמה והתבונה יש בפסק רבנו זה, תורת ה’ תמימה משיבת נפש, פקודי ה’ ישרים משמחי לב (תהלים יט) האשה היא בעלת נפש, נפש אנושית, והיאך יעלה על דעת אדם לכופה להבעל לשנוא לה, והיאך יתכן לנהוג באשה אשר נשמה באפה כמנהג אותו ערבי באוז משוק הפטמים או כירך משוק הקצבים כההיא דע”ז כב ב.”)

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  2. Unfortunately, for most Ashkenazim and many Sefaradim we do not pasken like the Rambam. We follow Shulchan Aruch and Rema, who both hold that a bedika must be an internal exam and not just a surface wipe.

    I have no comment on your other suggestions.

    There is a practical piece of advice that makes bedikot less abrasive. Wet the bedika cloth before inserting it. That significantly reduces the abrasiveness. So I have been told by women.

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    • לק”י

      Shalom, Eliyahu.

      Thanks for writing.

      What you have written is simply untrue for the following reasons:

      1. Ashkenazim and Sefaradim do not simply “follow Shulhan Arukh and Rema.” For example, both the Mehaber and the Rema hold of Rabbenu Tam’s 72 minute shekiah, yet most Ashkenazim – and indeed nearly the entire Jewish world – follow the Gra and the shitah of the Geonim. Then there are Ashkenazim who follow the Mehaber against the Rema, and there are Sefaradim who follow the Rema – especially le-kula – against explicit statements of the Mehaber to the contrary. The fact of the matter is that Ashekanzim and Sefaradim follow the Rema and the Shulhan Arukh, except for when they follow the Gra, the Shakh, the Taz, the Peri Megadim, the Mishnah Berurah, the Arukh HaShulhan, the Maharsha, Rav Akiva Eiger, or some other posek instead. Then there are posekim who rule in accordance with various Rishonim and Aharonim – or even the Gemara – against the codified rulings in the Shulhan Arukh.

      2. The idea that “we don’t pasken like the Rambam” is a myth. In fact, close to 90% of the Mehaber consists of citations from the Rambam. And the Rema sometimes cites the Rambam’s other works le-halakhah. Even if this wasn’t the case, there is no such rule and never has been. In fact, if what you say is true, then the Ashkenazim and Sefaradim who are relying almost solely on the Rambam’s formulation of “serarah” to prohibit women from serving in synagogue or community positions have no basis for their contentions. I challenge you to write these rabbis and enlighten them to this apparently firm rule that we are unable to decide halakhah in accordance with the Rambam. But you won’t, because there is no such rule against deciding in accordance with the Rambam.

      Just like there was nothing stopping Rav Mosheh Feinstein (z”l), Rav Yosef Messas (z”l), Hakham Ovadia Yosef (z”l), and many others from setting aside the Shulhan Arukh and the Rema, there is also nothing stopping modern posekim from deciding in accordance with what I have written here (translated, actually). Rav Nahum Rabinovitch, Rav Ratzon Arussi, and others currently and routinely decide halakhah from the Rambam.

      But even if none of these posekim ruled like the Rambam – the Rambam ruled like the Rambam. And the author of the Shulhan Arukh, Rav Yosef Karo, unequivocally referred to the Rambam as “the greatest of the halakhic decisors” (cf. Avkat Rokhel #32), and wrote in the Kesef Mishneh that one could absolutely rely on the rulings of the Rambam.

      The amorphous “we” that is constantly referenced in the orthodox world is a sham. There is no homogeneous, monochromatic group of Jews who only follow this or that posek, and I tire of those who try and baselessly give the impression that there is.

      Mori Yusef Qafih z”l wrote that women from any tradition (Ashkenazi, Sefaradi, Yemenite, or what have you) are at liberty to follow the Rambam’s rulings regarding taharat ha-mishpahah without even the need for hatarat nedarim.

      I’m sorry, ahi, but this information is good and valuable – for any Jewish woman who desires to follow it.

      Kol tuv,

      YB

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      • Poor choice of wording on my part.
        Certainly there is no absolute rule.
        And you show your hand in your closing statement. You pasken like Rav Kapach. Most don’t follow him in his feeling that anyone can pasken like Rambam if they so choose.
        And if one would hold like the Rambam then consistency would dictate that he or she not use an eruv unless it is within a walled area where there is more physical barrier than tzurat hapetach.
        Otherwise the person is just cherry picking kulot.

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      • לק”י

        Shalom again, Eliyahu.

        Thanks for your response.

        Respectfully, I don’t “pasken like Rav Kapach.” However, I do respect him as one of the greatest posekim of recent times, which indeed he was. Hakham Ovadia Yosef (z”l) used to learn regularly with Mori Yusef Qafih (z”l), and until his own passing would eulogize him every year on the anniversary of his death. His towering greatness notwithstanding, I find that I regularly disagree with his opinions on various points of halakhah. I do so comfortable in the knowledge that were he to still be alive, he would protect my right to see things as I do, since in his humility he regularly protected his detractors against criticism.

        No, most don’t hold like him that one may follow the rulings of the Rambam if they so choose, but this is irrelevant. Most didn’t follow Hakham Ovadia in his method of pesak halakhah, and neither do most follow the Gra in his method of pesak halakhah, etc. The fact is that the majority of people don’t follow the majority of people in following any one posek or code of Talmudic law over all others. Beside this, what “most” choose to follow or not follow is practically irrelevant. The significance of a majority only applies within the context of a beit din when there is not unanimity among the hakhamim serving on it. Outside of this, an appeal to a “majority” is just another way of trying to present the orthodox world as a homogeneous, monochromatic group of Jews who only follow this or that posek – which it certainly isn’t.

        I have heard the contention of a supposed need for strict consistency numerous times, especially when it comes to those who desire to rely on the Rambam, and it’s bogus. First of all, you assume (as many understandably do) that the particular reading of the Rambam by the Bet Yosef with regard to eruvin is correct. Mori Yusef Qafih (z”l) brings a myriad of proofs for this not being the case, not the least of which being that the Ra’avad – who held, like every other rishon, that an eruv comprised of tzurot ha-petah is mo’il – wrote no hasagot to the relevant sections of the Mishneh Torah, strongly indicating that he did not read the Rambam as the Bet Yosef did either.

        Rav Qafih personally held, based squarely on the Rambam, that the eruvin of the Rabbanut – composed many times entirely of tzurot ha-petah – are a valid eruv and may be used by anyone for purposes of either carrying on Shabbat or in dividing one’s fields. And before you object on the basis that I am simply “paskening like Rav Kapach” again, I would remind you that the Rambam is regularly cited in thousands of teshuvot by people who neither follow everything he says nor ascribe to one reading of the Mishneh Torah. In fact, I regularly read where a posek or an author will cite “the Rambam, according to the understanding of [Rav Ploni]” – and this brings me to my next point.

        Since when is there a rule that in order to follow the Rambam, or any posek, that one must be utterly consistent? There is no such rule. Do you hold the Rosh as being somehow inconsistent because in commenting on the Rif, he did not follow him in every detail of halakhah? How about the Rambam himself – did he make a mistake because departed from the Rif as well? In fact, this entire assertion is fallacious since, as I said before, there are Ashkenazim who follow the Mehaber against the Rema, and there are Sefaradim who follow the Rema – especially le-kula – against explicit statements of the Mehaber to the contrary. The fact of the matter is that Ashekanzim and Sefaradim follow the Rema and the Shulhan Arukh, except for when they follow the Gra, the Shakh, the Taz, the Peri Megadim, the Mishnah Berurah, the Arukh HaShulhan, the Maharsha, Rav Akiva Eiger, or some other posek instead. Even those who hold up the Mishnah Berurah as the final arbiter of halakhah don’t follow everything dictated in it – many times “cherry-picking” lenient rulings from modern posekim who rule otherwise.

        Where is the consistency? Why aren’t those who follow the Shulhan Arukh held to the same standard of consistency? And if you have in mind the statement of the Tosefta in Eduyyot (2:3) that “one who takes hold of the lenient rulings of Bet Shammai and the lenient rulings of Bet Hillel is a rasha” then I would remind you that in our times every posek is of Bet Hillel since the halakhah was settled in final accordance with them in the Gemara (cf. b.Eruvin 13b). Since the closing of the Talmud, the halakhah arises from the entire body of literature which was bequeathed to us by the students of Hazal, which has been formulated to express the halakhah in entirely in accordance with Bet Hillel. As the Rambam states clearly in his hakdamah to the Mishneh Torah, “מכולם יתבאר האסור והמותר, והטמא והטהור, והחייב והפטור, והכשר והפסול” – with no mention of either “kulot” or “humrot“; “Bet Hillel” or “Bet Shammai.” That era has long disappeared and its mahlokot laid to rest. Today if someone were to take all the kulot from every posek, he or she has done nothing but gather kulot stemming from Bet Hillel – and such a one is not a rasha.

        As for the general derision of what is referred to as “cherry-picking kulot,” this is exactly what pesikat halakhah bizemanenu consists in. No one goes to rav to find a humrah, do they? The great halakhist, Rav Yehiel Mikhel Epstein (z”l), author of the Arukh HaShulhan, famously is quoted by his close talmid, Rav Yehudah Leib Maimon (z”l, 1875-1962), as saying:

        כשתבוא לפניך שאלה באיסור תורה, עליך לחשוב מקודם כי שאלה זו בחזקת היתר עומדת. ורק לאחר שתעיין בראשונים ולא תמצא איזה צד היתר, מחויב אתה לאסור. ולדאבוני מכיר אני כמה רבנים, והם גדולי תורה, אבל משום שיראתם קודמת לחכמתם, הם דנים בראשונה על שאלה מתוך השקפה שיטתית שהיא בודאי טריפה ואסורה, ועל ידי זה הם נכשלים כמה פעמים להפסיד ממון של ישראל שזהו חטא יותר חמור מעבירה שבין אדם למקום

        “When a question concerning a prohibition of the Torah comes before you, you are obligated to from the outset to consider the action in question as being presumably permitted. And only after you search the various opinions of the rishonim and you do not find any possible way to halakhically permit the action, then you are obligated to prohibit it. And to my great anguish, I know many rabbanim, and they are great Torah scholars, but because their fear surpasses their wisdom, they rule at first sight on any question from a ruggedly systematic approach that such things are certainly terefah and forbidden. By doing this, they many times fail in their duties as a posek and by such rulings they are mafsid the money of the Jewish public, which is a sin more severe than even a sin against God.”

        And if wasting money is a sin, then it is surely also a sin to rigidly uphold practices that are painful, injurious, cause unnecessary separation between wives and their husbands, marital strife, “halakhic” infertility, and many other issues related to the physical and emotional health of women. God save us from a השקפה שיטתית!

        Besides, it has already been established for us that חמירא סכנתא מאיסורא, so it should be very easy for us to utilize those halakhic rulings which best preserve the health and well-being of women.

        Kol tuv,

        YB

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